Health Minister praises Derry dementia ‘team of the year’

The Oak Villa team receiving their award for 'Team of Year' from Edwin Poots MLA, Minster of Health, Social Services and Public Safety at the inaugural Northern Ireland Dementia Excellence Awards.
The Oak Villa team receiving their award for 'Team of Year' from Edwin Poots MLA, Minster of Health, Social Services and Public Safety at the inaugural Northern Ireland Dementia Excellence Awards.

A health team from Gransha Road, Derry has been recognised for its outstanding work with local people with dementia at the inaugural Northern Ireland Dementia Excellence awards.

Edwin Poots, Minster of Health, Social Services and Public Safety for Northern Ireland awarded the Memory Assessment Clinic at Oak Villa with ‘Team of the Year’ at a recent event organised by the Dementia Services Development Centre Northern Ireland (DSDC).

Congratulating the winners, Mr. Poots commented: “Your contribution and commitment to improving the lives of people living with dementia has been deservedly recognised and rewarded.”

Dementia Services Development Centre Northern Ireland (DSDC), which is linked to the DSDC at the University of Stirling received numerous entries but felt that the Oak Villa team, which has John McIlvenna as Clinic Head shone through due to the service it provides for early identification and diagnosis of dementia.

Individuals concerned with their memory are referred to the clinic and offered a prompt appointment with the memory assessment nurses. The memory clinic consists of nursing, psychiatry and psychology representation and has recently welcomed a geriatrician to the team. This experienced team helps improve early access and diagnosis for those with probable dementia. The team work in partnership with local GPs and the nurses play a key role in preparing the client and family member regarding the possible implications of diagnosis. Throughout the process the two nurses gain consent, assess and discuss concerns, working with both clients and family members. The development of the memory clinic has resulted in clients attending fewer appointments with less overlap between professional roles within the team which cuts down the lengthy process of referrals.

The awards were part of the Dementia 2012 seminar which involved up to 270 health and social care workers from mostly Health Trusts and private organisations, with a few voluntary organisations represented.

There are currently 19,000 people living with dementia in Northern Ireland; this figure is expected to rise to 61,000 by 2051.